Minor in Possession of Alcohol – Michigan MIP Law

Underage drinking in the United States is a common social phenomenon. From high school parties in a parent’s basement, to college campuses everywhere, curious teenagers are more likely than not to experiment with alcohol at some point. Unfortunately, this experimentation carries the risk of bad decisions and legal trouble. For example, anyone under the age of 21 that’s caught with alcohol can be charged with a Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) offense.

This offense may seem like a “slap on the wrist;” however, under new Michigan MIP laws, subsequent MIP charges after the first offense may be considered misdemeanor offenses punishable by up to a year in jail.

If you’re a minor that’s being charged with an MIP or a parent with a child that’s being charged as a Juvenile, don’t hesitate to talk to an experienced criminal attorney to avoid a potential disaster.

Car keys next to empty booze bottles and a red solo cup symbolizing a possible MIP charge at a party with underage drinking

MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL (MIP)

Unlike a Civil Infraction where you’d receive for speeding ticket, a Michigan MIP Civil Infraction comes with a lot of strings attached. Specifically, even for a first offense under subsection (1) of Michigan’s MIP State Civil Infraction, a minor can still be ordered to participate in substance use disorder services which includes both preventative services and rehabilitative services, see MCL 333.6230(c); the minor could also be ordered to submit to a Substance Abuse Screening and Assessment (which is a self-reported inquiry used to evaluate your client’s substance abuse problems or lack thereof); and the minor could also be ordered to complete an unspecified number of community service hours.

BREATH TESTING MINORS

Michigan law, MCL 436.1703(7), requires police officers to first obtain a minor’s consent or a court order before attempting to administer a preliminary chemical breath test (PBT). There is no penalty (fine/ticket/points) for a non-driving minor who does not agree to take a PBT.

PARTY BUSES, PROM & GRADUATION PARTIES

Although underage drinking may not land a minor in jail, it could still cause a minor to be suspended or expelled from school, and “cool parents” can still be arrested for allowing the minor(s) to consume alcohol and/or for allowing underage minors to consume alcohol in your home (regardless if you’re present or not).

Teen Tips: Be Smart. Don’t show up drunk to school events. Don’t piss off the limo driver – they will call the police (and you’re pretty much already held captive). Don’t miss the dance for a drink. Thank your parents for the new independence that comes with graduation – and don’t blow it by getting busted after graduation and before the first semester of college. When in doubt, #CallKelly

DON’T TAKE MIP TICKETS LIGHTLY!

Be aware the new MIP State Civil Infraction can only be used once. Any subsequent underage drinking violations become Misdemeanor violations. Even though a first-offense MIP is only a State Civil Infraction, for purposes of enhancing a subsequent MIP to a Misdemeanor, the MIP State Civil Infraction counts as a “prior judgment” under subsection (1)(b). Don’t assume the ticket is meaningless once it’s been paid. If there are circumstances surrounding the issuance of the MIP ticket that you think are relevant, you should contact an attorney to discuss the matter before paying the ticket.

Young male criminal defense attorney wearing a blue suit and tie posing for a headshot photo

Criminal Defense Attorney Mike Kelly

Headshot photo of a woman attorney wearing a white blouse. This is Michele Kelly a criminal defense and family law attorney at Kelly & Kelly.

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